Client attraction. Business growth. Pretty profits.
If you are new to business and the Internet, it’s unlikely you’ll know what SEO is. It didn’t emerge for me until I started looking at how I could promote myself online. I knew that I had to make my website searchable but really didn’t know there was a term for it.
This is the Definition from Wikipedia:
“Search engine optimization (SEO) is the process of improving the visibility of a website or a web page in search engines’ “natural,” or un-paid (“organic” or “algorithmic”), search results.”
It doesn’t make much sense to me, and I doubt many non-technical people will understand what SEO is and how you can implement it either, so here are some easy to follow tips for business owners to use.
Firstly your website content needs to be well written, it needs to be unique so definitely no copy and pasting from a competitors website. Google penalises websites which have duplicate content, so you won’t be doing yourself any favours by taking short cuts.
To keep your website high in search results it needs to be kept fresh. A good way of doing this without having to constantly update your website is to have a blog. By using a platform such as WordPress you can easily incorporate a blog into your website, and then try and post to this as regularly as you can manage, once a week is a good starting point.
Within your content you need to use keywords, so before you even start writing your content you need to come up with a list of the keywords associated to your business. There are some tools you can use which will help you find keywords; one of these is called the Google Adwords Keyword Tool. To explain how you use this would require a whole separate post, so you can check out this video on YouTube which will give you the basic overview you need – Google Adwords Keyword Tool 2011.
Using keywords in your copy is a great way of increasing your SEO but don’t overuse them and try to use natural language, search engines prefer this.
When posting to a blog on a regular basis one of the ways to increase your SEO is to include links in your copy. The most important thing to remember about links is to create the link using keyword phrases. For example, I have set-up a hyperlink above for the YouTube video using the title, instead of just saying click here. By using the title, or specific keywords the search engines will be able to place you in the right searches when crawling your copy for links. Ensure you link to other quality websites or blogs and you will encourage them to link back to you.
On the subject of links, when you set-up your website ensure your pages/posts use the title in the URL, not just random characters. In WordPress these are called permalinks. Having your title or keywords in your URL will again ensure you are higher up the search engines.
When inserting images into your content add captions using keywords, add relevant titles and descriptions (again using keywords). By using keywords in your images or pictures is a great way of improving your SEO as these are highly searched. This is something that many people fail to do, but it should be very easy to go back over all your images and insert this crucial information if necessary.
Social media is a great way of improving your SEO as your social media profiles tend to be higher up in results, such as YouTube which is owned by the top search engine Google. Twitter is a great network to use when sharing your website or blog, Google is watching this constantly and your site will get indexed quickly. As with all the tips above, ensure you have the right keywords and you’ll soon be reaching new SEO heights. One big factor in social media is to be interactive, share and be yourself, if you have a lot of inactive accounts then that’s more likely to go against you in search results rather than help you.
Plugins (on WordPress)
For those of you who use WordPress as your website platform there are a wealth of plugins to choose from to improve your SEO. I have found a great one recently which I am now using on some client websites and will eventually move over to my own. The plugin is called WordPress SEO Plugin – it looks quite overwhelming when you first start using it and there are a lot of advanced features I haven’t used yet, but it’s a very useful way to get new users to increase their SEO with little experience in this area.
I hope that my tips have been useful and give you an overview of how you can increase your SEO. It takes some work setting it up but you will no doubt reap the rewards when your website finally reaches that coveted spot at the top of Google.
A very special thank you to Jo Harrison for her guest post. I’m sure you’ve come away with some great tips. I know I will be going back through images to improve their SEO value. Be sure to pop by Jo’s blog for more great posts.